227. PDF Puzzlers

October 19, 2015

PunchlineFrontCoverAHAfrontcoverTo celebrate 35 years of professional puzzlemaking, I’ve put together PDF versions of two books I created in 2005 (for St. Martin’s Press and Random House). Punchline Puzzles contains 50 crosswords with an original cartoon in the center of each grid. AHA! is 125 pages of “clever crossword clue” puzzles. $10 each, both for $18. CLICK HERE for more info and to download samples.

225. MEmoRiaL

October 4, 2015

merlmemorialA memorial for crossword-constructing legend Merl Reagle took place on September 27th in Tampa, Florida. About 125 people attended.

It was a beautiful setting in a large room on the top floor of the Vaughn Center at the University of Tampa. Twenty-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls provided sweeping views of the surrounding area … as much as you could see given the rainy weather, which was torrential at times.

People mingled from 5:00 to 6:00, munching on hors d’oeuvres while Liz Hollister and John Minor played guitar and sang songs in the background. A slide show of Merl tidbits played in a continuous loop on a large screen at the front of the hall. From 7:00 until 9:00, a fittingly eclectic mix of friends shared reminiscences about Merl. There were many laughs and a few tears.

roomRobert Miles, an international keynote speaker, served as master of ceremonies. Six others followed: Al Scudieri, a former FBI special agent; Jeffrey Walters, whose wife Merl had made a special puzzle for; Vic Fleming, a district judge and crossword constructor; Patrick Creadon, the director of Wordplay; myself, with a notebook filled with 400 writings collected from the crossword community; and Bill Duryea, an editor at politico.com. Marie Haley finished things up with some poignant thoughts.

About a dozen of us, including Marie, had dinner together afterwards at a nearby hotel, Le Méridien, telling more stories. Toward the end, Judge Vic pulled out his guitar and serenaded us into the night with a rendition of “If You Don’t Come Across.”

A video of the speeches, taken by Nancy Shack, can be seen HERE.

224. Mad People

September 29, 2015

In this week’s People magazine, I’ve got a crossword puzzle with a “star of Everest” as its theme. I’ll have additional puzzles appearing every three weeks.

In the October issue of MAD magazine, I’ve got a Donald Trump poem (a sound bite-friendly four lines long). I also put together many of the articles, as part of a summer stint working there, and managed to sneak one of my mice onto a page. Can you find it?


223. Zep Winners

September 14, 2015

ZEP PRIZES have been randomly awarded to seven of the correct puzzle solvers.

And the winners are …
• Amy Goldstein & Mike Shenk: (A) Lincoln Zephyr ads
• Erin Rhode: (B) Zephyr bowling shirt
• Richard Pardoe: (C) Zephyr train brochure
1st PLACE • Steve Williams: (D) Zephyr lettering set
• Joe Miller (E substitution): two Zep books
• Andy, Iris & Stella Keller: (F) Yma Sumac record
• Jonathan McCue: (G) sumac berries + print

The five remaining correct solvers will each get a bonus copy of the book.

222. Zephyr X. Weber now has his own blog …

April 17, 2015


Just click on the image above to check it out.

221. Uh…Oh!

April 16, 2015

uhohI’ve wanted to tackle the subject of creativity for a long time, and now I have. On April 15, I launched a new blog called Uh…Oh!

Creativity isn’t a magical skill bestowed upon a select few at birth. It’s an ability everyone possesses.

Uh…Oh! will explore how creativity works and how to tap into it. It will delve into topics such as the importance of perseverance, the myth of brainstorming, the unconscious, mood, the days of yore when muses ruled the creative universe, the androgynous outlook, brain research, psychology, art, science, and who knows what else. It’s a fascinating field with many intriguing avenues to explore.

In addition, you’ll find interviews, profiles, videos, guest columns, brainteasers to strengthen your creative wiring, and lots of original and vintage images.

The quick address for getting there: http://uhoh.xyz

219. pAlinDroMes (MAD in palindromes)

March 4, 2015

madcdYears ago, when MAD released all their issues on CD-ROM, I fashioned this palindrome: O.K., Alfred now on CD-ROM. Uh, he’s a gas, eh? Humor! DC: “No wonder, flako!”

Then another, apt for any skewered celebrity: Damn! I saw I was in MAD.

And finally, an anagram of Alfred E. Neuman: Mundane ear elf

MAD filed them away in the appropriate receptacle.


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